"Before I got into this music I wanted to be an originator ; I wanted to be original".
aka MONOBOX / X-103 / THE VISION / FLOORPLAN / INNER SANCTUM / H & M (with Jeff Mills) / UNDERGROUND RESISTANCE (with Jeff Mills & 'Mad' Mike Banks) / MATHEMATIC ASSASINS
JEFF MILLS ON ROB HOOD:
"Having known and worked with Robert on projects in the past starting with Underground Resistance X-101, X-102 "The Rings Of Saturn" and X-103 "Atlantis" and varies Axis releases such as the groundbreaking "Minimal Nation" LP, there isn't many that can be compared to him as a true visionary. As the creator of the style Minimal Techno, Robert has always maintained what we've always needed in Electronic Music, a simplified and intelligent view of Future Music. He's built an impressive career almost single handedly.
Look forward to watching/listening/feeling the sound of this genius at work." (August 2006)
One of the founding fathers of cult Techno imprint/group Underground Resistance along with Jeff Mills and Mad Mike Banks, Robert Hood distinguishes himself with a sparse, minimalist sound that has shaped modern techno in many ways. After collaborating to several UR and X-101, 102, 103 releases, Hood left Underground Resistance to focus on his solo deejaying and recording carreer.
Hood subsequently created his own record label M-Plant and contributed to the success of the original Techno sound in Europe through his releases on Berlin-based imprint Tresor.
Robert Hood needs little introduction. Founding member of the legendary group Underground Resistance as a 'Minister Of Information' with ?Mad? Mike Banks & Jeff Mills, his seminal works on Jeff Mill's Axis and his very own M-Plant imprint paved the way for a wave of stripped-down dancefloor minimalism that directed much of techno's path throughout the late Nineties. As Birmingham's Surgeon once remarked, 'When Hood released his pivotal 'Minimal Nation' EP in 1993, it was like a bomb went off.'
Robert Hood makes minimal Detroit techno with an emphasis on soul and experimentation over flash and popularity. Having recorded for Metroplex, as well as the Austrian Cheap label and Jeff Mills' Axis label, Hood also owns and operates the M-Plant imprint, through which he's released the bulk of his solo material. As part of the original UR line up whose influential releases throughout the early and mid '90s helped change the face of modern Detroit techno and sparked a creative renaissance. Infusing elements of acid and industrial into a potent blend of Chicago house and Detroit techno, UR's aesthetic project and militant business philosophy were (and remain) singular commitments in underground techno. Hood left Detroit (and UR) with Jeff Mills in 1992, setting up shop in New York and recording a series of 12-inch Eps. He began to concentrate on his own production 'Vision EP', the 'Riot EP' and X-103 were big stepping-stones for him as they were the first releases he worked 100% on his own. The X-101 to X-102, were Waveform Transmission projects with Mills for Tresor. He slowly progressed to work more and more on his own, but collaberated on some of the first Axis releases with label owner Jeff Mills as H&M (Hood & Mills) with "Tranquilizer EP" and "Drama".
He soon decided it was time for him to start his own label to focus on what was in his soul musically.and set up M-Plant in 1994 releasing singles such as "Internal Empire,", "The Protein Valve" "Music Data," and "Moveable Parts. "M-Plant is what I've always wanted to hear: the basic stripped down, raw sound. Just drums, basslines and funky grooves and only what's essential. Only what is essential to make people move. I started to look at it as a science, the art of making people move their butts, speaking to their heart, mind and soul. "It's a heart-felt rhythmic techno sound. M-Plant is just M. minimal."
Although his desire to remain underground has been replaced by an urge to reach a wider audience, Hood remains fiercely critical of artistic and economic movements destructive to inner-city communities and has combined his musical enterprises with outreach and social activist ends. With this in mind the seminal "Nighttime World Pt.1" in 1995 and "Nighttime World Pt.2" in 2000 incorporating Jazz, Soul, Hip Hop as well as Techno and House.
His debut Peacefrog album 'Point Blank' took Hood's hypnotic minimalism to entirely new depths and territories, whilst his last album 'Wire To Wire' took his productions onto new levels of musicality and sophistication within the world of electronic music.
Most recently he embarked on a new project with Music Man records (Belgium) titled
“HoodMusic”, bringing his unique style of minimal techno back to the forefront of what is going on in the music scene today. These are a series of singles leading up to an album
I was born (in 1965) and raised in Detroit.
Growing up in Detroit, I grew up with Motown in the house - a lot of Motown and Philadelphia soul, artists like Marvin Gaye of course and Curtis Mayfield. I remember Isaac Hayes, the soundtrack from ‘Shaft’ had come out - I think I was around 4 or 5. Supafly was out at that time. I had a babysitter who would come over and play a lot of 50’s music; she’d play 50’s doowop on the radio. There was always a lot of music going on. My father was a jazz musician; he played piano, trumpet and drums. My mother was in an R’n’B group, they recorded a little 45 locally. As I said, we listened to a lot of Motown - in fact, my grandfather’s first cousin is Berry Gordy. My uncle managed lots of jazz bands and R’n’B bands, so we’ve always been musically inclined and had an ear for it. I guess I get it mostly from my father - he was an artist and a musician and I picked up the same things from him. I’m an artist as well, an illustrator. I do mostly pencil and charcoal renderings. I’m not really a painter - though he was painting and drawing and doing illustrations. I do some graphite renderings too.
I was influenced by my father - I wanted to play trumpet like he did. He died when I was very young though, I was six when he passed away. At my grandmother’s house there’s a painting of him, and below the painting there’s a glass case with his trumpet and his drum sticks in it. So all I remembered growing up was seeing that trumpet and that made me want to take it up, which I did when I was in Grade School. I played trumpet for maybe a year or so - I did a couple of recitals but after a while I lost interest. I think everybody went through that - you know, you get bored with it and sort of slack off.
I remember seeing a press shot of you with a trumpet…
Yeah, that was actually my father’s trumpet. I had to beg my grandmother to let me borrow the trumpet to take a picture with it for the ‘Nighttime World Volume 2’ album cover and she did.
When did you start picking up music again?
It had to be around ‘88-‘89. I had always been interested in music - in playing music and DJing. I was collecting records I liked and just keeping my ear to the ground. Any music I heard, I’d listen to intently. I’d check for how many instruments were on each track, I’d read the credits to see who played what instrument in what band; I was obsessed in that way. I didn’t really get serious until ‘90-’91, but I always wanted to play music as far as I could remember.
I started to produce a bit more and I started recording some demo tapes - I’d got a drum machine and a Roland TR505 from a pawn shop that I started making beats with. I was going to a studio where I paid $15 an hour to make a demo. I met a guy called Mike Clark through my girlfriend at the time - and he knew everybody! He knew Mike Banks, Jeff Mills, in fact all the DJs and producers in Detroit. He introduced me to Mike Banks and I let him hear a demo tape. I think it was a Public Enemy horn sound that I ripped off and made a beat, and Mike was interested. I think what caught his interest was the drum programming. So he wanted to hear some more…and they happened to be starting work on a compilation. So I came along and did two tracks on the album as an MC! Not a producer, an MC.
You know, I was interested in hip house at the time - I didn’t really want to be an MC but I couldn’t find anyone else that was willing to do it. I wanted to find an MC that was sort of a cross between Chuck D and Q-Tip for some kind of political abstract MCing. But I couldn’t find anybody so I decided to go ahead and do it myself. So yeah, we wrote two tracks with me as an MC and they produced the beats and we went from there. This was happening in about 1991.
When I recorded those tracks, UR wasn’t even up and running yet. It was just an idea, something that was coming alive as a production unit between Mike Banks and Jeff Mills. I just happened to meet them just before it started. Slowly it evolved to the stage where I was a more active member of the group, especially with the live shows and the label Hardwax. They helped me start that and helped me develop as an artist.
LABELS & PRODUCTION
Pretty much after we did the X102 project, Jeff and I kind of branched off and started Axis. It was more of a housey, abstract sound that was different from the experimental techno from UR, and that was different from the Detroit Metroplex and Transmat/KMS sound. It was more of a grounded sound.
M-Plant started in ’94. It kind of borrowed from the sound I was using from Axis and really expanded on that sound. I had developed this “grey area” sound - what I mean by that is that in Detroit, even when the sun is out, there’s something in the atmosphere. I don’t know if its pollution or whatever, but the sky has that grey haze over it. It’s got to be something from the industrial factories there. I’d never really heard a sound like that before and it came from a Roland Juno - it was a chord sound that really went along with my depiction of what Detroit was at that time. A lot of buildings were abandoned and there was a lot of lifelessness in the city, especially downtown. The M-Plant, in minimalism, kind of reflected that. I remember thinking of Detroit like a museum. You know, like a work of art standing still, suspended in time. There wasn’t a whole lot of activity going on.
I haven’t been back to Detroit for about a year but downtown is really very much alive. It’s coming back and thriving, which is good to see. Some people ask me, “How relevant is Detroit musically now?” Detroit will always be relevant – it’s forever, you know? A timeless city that’s birthed Motown and Detroit techno, both of which are timeless too…music that will be here forever; you can’t put a date on it. I still play some Transmat songs and some KMS and some Juan Atkins, Model 500, and it’s still just as inspiring. It will go on forever - so I really can’t understand how people can ask that question - people are still checking and taking influence from Detroit in 2007. You just don’t want to get caught up in trying to be what Detroit used to be. I think many artists try to recapture that Detroit magic, but the best thing you can do for Detroit techno is to keep expanding and keep reaching. At that time, they were reaching as far as their imaginations could go, so to pay homage to that is to keep pushing your imagination to the extreme.
These days I am focussed purely on minimalism and really embracing minimalism, because it’s taken on a life of its own. It’s now a music style separate from techno. I would never have imagined that it would take this direction. I didn’t see that one coming! I saw minimalism in life becoming more and more evident - in furniture, in electronics, in art, in automobiles, appliances - you know I could see that coming. But, as far as music itself being thought of now as an art form? Back then, I think people looked on at it as a trend but they didn’t realise that minimalism is an art form. I did not realise it would take on this characteristic as it has now. So, where I’m at right now is embracing minimalism and seeing how far I can push it - in my interpretation of what simplicity and the music is all about. I am really representing it as an art form and not a trend. As the future evolves, we’re going to get more and more minimal…
as ROBERT HOOD
Robert Hood - Sophisticcato, 12" (Duet)
Robert Hood - The Grey Area, 12" (M-Plant)
Robert Hood - Spectra, 12" (M-Plant)
Robert Hood - Red Passion III, 12" (Duet)
Robert Hood - Addict, 12" (M-Plant)
Robert Hood - Internal Empire, CD (Tresor)
Robert Hood - The Protein Valve, 12" (M-Plant)
Robert Hood - Internal Empire, CD (Tresor)
Robert Hood - The Pace, 12" (M-Plant)
Robert Hood - Master Builder, 12" (Tresor)
Robert Hood - Minimal Nation Misspress, 2x12" (Axis)
Robert Hood - Minimal Nation, 2x12" (Axis)
Robert Hood - Internal Empire, 12" (M-Plant)
Robert Hood - Internal Empire, album (Tresor)
Robert Hood - Nighttime World Volume 1, album (Cheap)
Robert Hood - Nighttime World Vol. 1, 2x12" (Cheap)
Robert Hood - Moveable Parts Chapter 1, 12" (M-Plant)
Robert Hood - Master Builder, CD5" (BMG)
Robert Hood - Minimal Nation, 2x12" (M-Plant)
Robert Hood - The Vision, 12" (Metroplex)
Robert Hood - Underestimated, 12" (M-Plant)
Robert Hood - Moveable Parts Chapter 2, 2x12" (M-Plant)
Robert Hood - All Day Long, 12" (M-Plant)
Robert Hood - Hoodlum, 2x12" (Drama)
Robert Hood - Psychic / Pole Position, 12" (M-Plant)
Robert Hood - Stereotype, 12" (M-Plant)
Robert Hood - Red Passion II, 12" (Duet)
Robert Hood - Satellite - A Force Of One, 12" (Hardwax)
Robert Hood - Internal Empire, 2x12" (Tresor)
Robert Hood - Technatural EP, 12" (M-Plant)
Robert Hood - Red Passion I, 12" (Duet)
Robert Hood - Nighttime World Volume 2, album (M-Plant)
Robert Hood - Apartment Zero, 12" (Logistic Records)
Robert Hood - Invincible, 12" (M-Plant)
Robert Hood - The Greatest Dancer, 12" (M-Plant)
Robert Hood - The Deal, 12" (Duet)
Robert Hood - Master Builder, 12" (Tresor)
Robert Hood - Who Taught You Math, 12" (Peacefrog)
Robert Hood - The Metronome, 12" (M-Plant)
Robert Hood - Monobox EP, 12" (Logistic Records)
Robert Hood - Point Black, album (Peacefrog)
Robert Hood - The Art Of War, 2x12" (Peacefrog)
Robert Hood - Kick Dirt E.p, 12" (M-Plant)
Robert Hood - The Black & White E.p, 12" (M-Plant)
Robert Hood - "i", 12" (M-Plant)
Robert Hood - Untitled 5, 12" (M-Plant)
Robert Hood presents HoodMusic Vol 1, 12" (Music Man)
Robert Hood presents HoodMusic Vol 2, 12" (Music Man)
Robert Hood presents HoodMusic Vol 3, 12" (Music Man)
Robert Hood - "Minimal Nation" re-release, album (M-Plant) - w/ triple pack white vinyl
Robert Hood - "Obey / Resurrection", 12" (M-Plant)
Robert Hood - "Superman / Range", 12" (M-Plant)
Robert Hood - "Alpha / Omega (End Times)", 12" (M-Plant)
Robert Hood - "Omega", album (M-Plant) - w/ triple pack red vinyl
Robert Hood - "Power To Prophet", 12" (M-Plant)
Robert Hood - "Alpha / The Family", 12" (M-Plant)
Robert Hood - "Omega: Alive", CD (M-Plant)
Monobox - Realm (12") (M-Plant)
Monobox - Downtown (12") (M-Plant)
Monobox - Population (12") (M-Plant)
Monobox - Molecule (12") (Logistic)
Monobox - Molecule (LP/CD) (Logistic)
as THE VISION
The Vision - The Vision, 12" (Hardwax)
The Vision - Other Side Of Life, 12" (Interface Records)
The Vision - Gyroscopic EP, 12" (Underground Resistance)
The Vision - Laidback & Groovy, 12" (Nu Groove)
The Vision - Waveform Transmission Vol. 2, CD (Tresor)
as INNER SANCTUM
Inner SanctumInner Sanctum, 12" (Axis)
Floorplan - Funky Souls (12") (Drama)
Floorplan - Doin' My Thing EP (12") (Drama)
Floorplan - Envy (12") (Drama)
Floorplan - Come On Rock / Burner (12") (Drama)
Floorplan - On The Case (12") (Duet)
Floorplan - Shop / Learn (12") (Duet)
Floorplan - Living It Up / Wall To Wall (12") (M-Plant)
as MATHEMATIC ASSASINS
The Mathematic Assasins - Calculator (12") (Hardwax)
as H&M (w/ Jeff Mills)
H&M - Tranquilizer EP, 12" (Axis)
H&M - Tranquilizer EP, 12" (Network)
H&M - Drama EP, 12" (Axis)
as MISSING CHANNEL (w/ Claude Young)
Missing Channel - Atomic Whirlpool, 12" (Hardwax)
Missing Channel - Onslaught, 12" (Hardwax)
Missing Channel - Submerged, 12" (Hardwax)
as X-101 (w/ Mad Mike & Jeff Mills)
X-101 "Sonic Destroyer" (U.R)
X-101 "Whatever Happened To Peace" (U.R)
X-101 "X-101" (Tresor)
as X-102 (w/ Mad Mike & Jeff Mills)
X-102 "Discovers The Rings Of Saturn" (Tresor)
X-102 "OBX-A" (U.R)
as X-103 (w/ Jeff Mills)
X-103 - Thera, 12" (Axis)
X-103 - Atlantis, CD (Tresor)
X-103 - Atlantis, 2x12" (Tresor)
X-103 - Thera EP, 12" (Tresor)
X-103 - Tephra EP, 12" (Axis)
DBX “Loosing Control” (Peacefrog)
Dave Clarke “ Widom To The Wise/ Red 2” (Deconstruction)
Diego “Mind Detergent” (Kanzleramt)
Turner “When Will We Leave” (Ladomat)
Oliver Ho “Changing” (Meta)
The Black Dog (Soma) - 2008
Marc Romboy “The Beat” (Systematica) - 2009
Detroit Grand Pubahs “Funk all Y’all” (Detelefunk) - 2009
Ben Klock "Goodly Sin" (Ostgut Ton) - 2009
Youandme "Close To Me" (Ornaments) - 2010
Aufgang "Barock" (Infine) - 2010
Juju & Jordash "Deep Blue Manies" (Dekmantel) - 2010
Boys Noize "Trooper" (BNR) - 2010
Roel Salemink "Silenth Noises" (BulletDodge) - 2010
O/V/R "Post Traumatic Son" (Blueprint) - 2011
DJ 3000 "Hotel Oasiz" (Motech) - 2011
TommyFourSeven (CLR) - 2011
Orlando Voorn "Phuture" (Underground Liberation) - 2011
“Caught In The Act” (Logistic)
Fabric 039: Robert Hood – March 2008
"Deep Concentration: The Grey Area mix" - December 2008
EPM Music podcast - 2009